10 Easy Email Secrets For The New Year

Email marketing yields one of the top returns on investment. According to MarketingProfs, every dollar spent on email returns $40 compared to keyword ads at a $17 ROI and banners way down at $2. Yet, I have seen too many travel RFPs that only focus on display while skipping email. I have also seen too many campaigns that were well funded and somehow could not afford to produce one HTML email creative.

  1. Your subject line is just as important as the creative. Since most emails are not even opened, that means most users are not even seeing your beautiful creative. Focus on the subject line. Many people think the shorter the better, but Mailchimp analyzed 12 billion emails to determine that open rates did not go down as subject lines got longer. 

  2. Use A/B and even C testing. Develop a few subject lines and then send out only a small amount of mail maybe to 5% or 10% of your list. Tinker with lower case or upper case and try being more mysterious to give users a reason to open. Posing a question to your users in the subject line often leads to higher open rates. 

  3. Choose each word wisely. Your text in the body of the email matters for spam. Avoid too many spammy words like Enter to Win or Free in the subject line and even in the content of the email so that you don’t trigger spam filters. It is fine to mention price points with $ symbols or travel deals in the subject line. 

  4. Create some urgency. If your fare sale is ending, then let the people know and give them more than 12 hours to act.  

  5. Design email creatives for both mobile and web. According to Litmus, 38% of emails are opened on a tablet or mobile device. So many of your users have to scroll way down just to see the key call to action in your email. Experiment with vertical messages for mobile instead of only designing for a horizontal desktop user. Test to see how things look in Outlook 2007, Gmail and others. 

  6. Increase lead generation. Consider targeted list building instead of always using email for direct response. You can buy on a cost per lead (CPL) instead of a CPM, so the ROI will almost always be higher and you get to market to those new leads again and again rather than just getting one shot at them with direct response. There are still big publishers out there that are overcharging for email, so demand more. Our clients wanted more value so we started charging on a CPL to improve their ROI. 

  7. Show them again and again. Email is a frequency media so do not judge the conversions until you have mailed at least twice. We have seen 45% open rates and higher click through rates when we resend to our travelers who opened the first drop. 

  8. Fish in new ponds. Of course, it is important to email your own database daily or weekly, but you also need to grow your email list. Advertise to the right database and test geo-targeting to improve performance. Align your email series with your booking windows. If it takes a traveler 120 days to book a cruise post click, then be sure to follow up with that user during that time period. Buy multiple drops instead of just one. 

  9. Time of day matters. The service we use to send our mail has a great feature where the system knows the best time of the day that each user would be more likely to open the email. So some users receive the email at 10 am while others find it in their inbox at 9 pm, after the kids are in bed.

  10. Behavioral targeting increases engagement. You can bump your email marketing results with behavioral targeting just like you already do with your display campaigns. Ask your users if they are interested in certain destinations or certain types of travel themes. Do they like golf, adventure travel, eco travel, luxury, spa or family content? Send them unique messages based on their interests. 



2 comments about "10 Easy Email Secrets For The New Year".
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  1. Ruth Barrett from, January 29, 2013 at 1:05 p.m.

    Excellent advice. The time of day option for emailing is new to me, but a great one. I'm not a fan of questions, they don't pull well in social, but then it is certainly easy enough to test. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge.

  2. Ryan Bifulco from Travel Spike, January 29, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.

    Yes time of day is key and different for each person. Also some studies show that a shorter subject line does better so worth testing.

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